6 Tips to Eat Less and Lower Your Grocery Bill

Photo (cc) by Helga's Lobster Stew

I don’t know about you, but losing weight and saving money have long been twin goals of mine.

While I’m still a work in progress, I’ve discovered a few tricks to help me eat less without dieting. As a bonus, eating less food equals spending less money at the grocery store. It’s a win-win for my wallet and waistline!

Give it a try yourself and see if you can eat your way to lower grocery bills.

1. Begin with breakfast

Eat your breakfast! How many times could we possibly hear this advice, right?

Well, you keep hearing it because it can be good advice if you want to be healthy, lose weight and save money – both on your groceries and medical bills.

A 2013 study published in the journal Obesity found that individuals who ate their biggest meal in the morning lost significantly more weight than others who ate the same number of calories but consumed their largest meal later in the day. Even more importantly, the big-breakfast eaters reported less hunger and had improved blood work that could indicate a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes, among other things.

Now, to be fair, plenty of other scientific research points to breakfast not being that big of a deal. However, my personal experience has been that eating a well-rounded breakfast seems to naturally lead to smaller lunches and dinners.

This may be a case of “your mileage may vary,” but give a big breakfast a try and see if it leads you to eat less at home and buy less at the grocery store.

2. Load up on protein

Of course, not just any breakfast will do. If I eat a donut with coffee at 8 a.m., I’m guaranteed to be famished by 9 a.m. But if I have a couple of eggs and maybe some cheese, I won’t be hungry until well into the afternoon.

My egg experience is not unique. A small study presented in 2012 found that people who ate eggs for breakfast stayed full longer and ate less for lunch.

If eggs aren’t your thing, a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition seems to indicate that any protein will do.

3. Use smaller plates

You can also use visual cues to trick yourself into eating less.

A Cornell study found that we tend to misjudge our serving sizes when we use large plates. The implication is that an average size serving on an enormous plate can make us feel deprived, while a smaller plate with the same size serving may leave us feeling satisfied.

To reduce the amount of food you eat – and buy – try shopping for smaller plates and bowls when it comes time to replace the dishware.

4. Take small bites

Along with the smaller plates, try taking smaller bites.

In 2012, researchers at Arizona State University found that taking smaller bites of food appears to be more satisfying to both rats and college students. It follows that the same would probably hold true for the rest of us.

In fact, college students given a cut-up bagel 20 minutes prior to lunch ate less than those who were given the same amount of bagel but as a single, uncut piece. That means those of us hoping to save calories and money might do well to cut up our food prior to eating it.

The small bites phenomenon was further supported by a 2013 study from researchers in the Netherlands. That report discovered that individuals instructed to drink soup using pre-portioned small sips ate 30 percent less than those taking large sips or allowed to use whatever sized sips they’d like.

5. Start with a soup

Speaking of soup, another way to reduce how much you eat is to start with soup.

This trick comes courtesy of a 2007 Penn State study. Researchers discovered that individuals who ate a soup appetizer before their lunch entrée consumed 20 percent fewer calories total than those who ate only an entrée.

For your waistline’s sake, if you try this tactic, choose a low-calorie broth-based soup for that first course.

6. Eat at the table

Finally, if you have kids eating you out of house and home, you may be able to save your wallet by making them eat at the table.

This strategy comes from a University of Illinois study that found young children are more likely to recognize when they’re full if they sit at a table and eat. The key here is their food can’t be pre-plated; it has to be served family style so children learn to portion out their own helpings.

The research found that family-style meals appear to help kids know how much is enough and how to recognize when they’re full. Pre-plated meals didn’t work because kids felt compelled to eat all the food dished out by someone else.

However, as an adult, I find forcing myself to eat at the table helps me eat less for an entirely different reason: It’s inconvenient. Noshing on chips or cookies is easy when I’m sitting in front of the TV or computer screen. When I force myself to sit at the table, it makes me give a little more thought to my food choices. Often, I find myself skipping the snack.

Those are a few strategies to help you eat less and, in turn, spend less at the grocery store. Have you tried any of these or do you have other tried and true techniques? Share them with other MTN readers by leaving a comment below or posting to our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive

These Amazon products can give you an extra edge at work and other parts of your life.

13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home
13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home

Get your household organized with these brilliant and inexpensive tricks.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes
5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes

Here’s how to keep Uncle Sam’s mitts away from your nest egg.

Beware These 3 Tax Penalties on Retirement Accounts
Beware These 3 Tax Penalties on Retirement Accounts

Protecting a nest egg is tough — but you can make the situation far worse with some boneheaded mistakes.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk
Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends leaving this type of store within a half-hour.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.